Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Questions (409)

Tony McLoughlin


409. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the financial difficulties which the six members of voluntary hospital groups currently find themselves in providing palliative care services in view of the difficulties experienced operating as section 39 organisations whilst also implementing the increases of the most recent pay deal; if this issue will be given consideration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39797/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I understand that the HSE is monitoring, on an ongoing basis, the financial position of voluntary hospices who are funded under service level agreements. The current service level agreement process provides a forum for hospices to discuss any issues or difficulties with the Chief Officer of the relevant Community Healthcare Organisation.

In the HSE's 2019 National Service Plan, an additional €2 million was provided for specialist palliative care services, with €1m allocated to both Marymount Hospice and St. Francis Hospice to support sustainable services in line with agreed plans. 

In accordance with a recommendation in the HSE's Palliative Care Services Three Year Development Framework 2017-2019, the HSE has established a working group to examine what constitutes a core specialist palliative care service, including both pay and non-pay costs, with a view to achieving full statutory funding of core services. The report of this Group is not yet finalised.

The level of funding available for palliative care services in 2020 will be considered in the context of the estimates and budgetary process, and national service planning.